Whenever you log into a website or forum these days with a user name and password, the chances are pretty good there will be a couple of additional tick boxes, one of which is the “Remember me” option.
This feature is there for the purpose of keeping the user logged into the website for a certain period of time. Even if you close your browser and come back to the site later on or the next day, you will still be logged into the same site and not required to manually re-enter the login details. When you enable the Remember Me option, your login details are stored in a cookie with your browser and the length of time that you remain automatically logged in depends on the expiry date the cookie has been given.
This date is set by the website developer and could range from a matter of hours, to even several years meaning if you don’t delete the cookie, you could still login automatically in a year or two’s time! As you have no control over how long a website will keep you logged in by default, it can be annoying if you frequently visit a website and it logs you out after a few days or a week, or alternatively, another site might keep you logged in for months or years at a time while the cookie is still there and you would prefer a shorter expiry time.
A cookie is more complicated than simply opening it up with notepad and changing a few values, and changing the expiration date on one can’t be done unless using a browser or 3rd party piece of software. Here’s a selection of ways to edit the expiry date on a cookie, one for each of the 4 main browsers; Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera.
A search on the web to edit cookies will likely produce most results for a Firefox add-on called “Add N Edit Cookies” which unfortunately appears abandoned and doesn’t work with versions of Firefox above 3. Happily an add-on based on it called Cookies Manager+ does work on the latest versions of the Firefox browser. And being a cookies manager, it can also delete and block as well as create new cookies.
After installing the Cookies Manager+ add-on, you can access it via the Firefox menu -> Web developer -> Cookies Manager+. Selecting the cookie you want to examine will also list its expiry date at the bottom of the window, and if you want to edit it, simply click the button.
Then making sure the Expires box is ticked, edit the expiry date using the drop down, boxes and pop out calender. After you’re done, click Save.
As Internet Explorer doesn’t use extensions in the same way Firefox and Chrome do, you have to resort to a 3rd party utility for the task. One you can use is a free and portable tool by Nirsoft called IECookiesView, and this tiny little program of around 50K is a cookie viewer and manager for Internet Explorer versions 4 and above.
Run IECookiesView and it will list all your Internet Explorer cookies. To edit a cookie, click on the website in the upper window, then all the related cookies for the site will appear at the bottom window. From there you can see their expiration date column. Right click on the Key and select Edit The Cookie’s Content which will open a new window where you can change the date either by typing in directly or from the pop up calender. Then press Modify Cookie and confirm.
IECookiesView has options to view the cookie in Notepad or Wordpad and also export to a Firefox cookies file in addition to various deleting and erasing functions. If for whatever reason the program can’t find your cookie files they can be manually located using the Select Cookies Folder option. Works in Windows 95 and above.
There is cookie expiration editing for more web browsers on the next page.